by LeighAnn McCready
The Milpitas High School library was remodeled with bond monies in the 2014-2015 school year and this year’s Class of 2018 has only the “new library” in their history as it opened in February of 2015. One of my goals in the remodeled space was to create an environment and atmosphere where students want to be. If you drop in before school or at lunch, you’ll definitely see that goal fulfilled. Whether hanging out on the comfortable seating areas, grouped around a table or in the study rooms, students have found their “own spots” in the library.
When I introduce 9th graders to our Library Learning Center, I tell them books are just a small part of the job I do and the services I offer, even though visually it’s the most obvious. In the information saturated world we live in today, I guide students to find academic resources to support their learning, critically analyze the information coming to them and introduce them to resources that are available electronically but not via a Google search. I have them bookmark the library webpage so they can also access the resources anywhere they have internet access. Hopefully, by the time they leave MHS they are ready to face the information world that lies ahead whether at college or in their careers or in life.
The last two years, I’ve been slowly easing into low-tech maker space ideas. Bubbles, coloring pages and origami were a few of the things I did last year. This year I added “Stick Together” posters, jigsaw puzzles, spirograph templates, blackout poetry and to finish off the school year a summer themed communal coloring poster. The posters and jigsaw puzzles were a huge hit and I will definitely put more out next year.
I feel incredibly lucky to work as a Teacher Librarian in MUSD. I rode a roller coaster of school librarian cuts from 2002-2007 untiI arriving at Milpitas High. According to the California Department of Education Statistics About School Libraries, “approximately 9 percent of California schools have a credentialed teacher librarian on campus part time or longer; the majority of professional staffing is found at the high school level. A teacher librarian has both a California teaching credential and a California teacher librarian services credential.” Before earning my library credential and Master’s Degree in Library Science, I taught high school math at all levels so I come at this job from a different angle then many teacher librarians. While it’s a small part of my overall job, I love putting the right book in the right student’s hands even if it’s not “great literature.”
I’m drawn to stories of teens dealing with various social issues. One of my current favorite teen authors in Jason Reynolds. He writes rich stories about teens dealing with tough issues. The first book I read by him he co-wrote with Brendan Kiely titled All American Boys. Sixteen-year-old Rashad (who is African American) is mistakenly accused of stealing. His classmate Quinn (who is white) witnesses his brutal beating at the hands of a police officer who happens to be the older brother of his best friend. The story is told in alternating points of view from each boys perspective. One of Jason’s more recent books is a novel in verse, A Long Way Down. In this story, Will boards an elevator determined to avenge his brother’s death. At each floor the elevator stops and someone boards that knows what he’s trying to do and pushes him to think deeply about the situation. I’ve put this book into the hands of some of my most reluctant readers and they are absolutely riveted. The Ten Things article I shared is just a small example of a large voice in Young Adult literature these days that understands that teenagers need to be seen in all their uniquenesses.
Fall 2017 End of Semester Library Report: https://youtu.be/0NOip2H8YBU?rel=0
Spring 2018 End of Semester Library Report: http://bit.ly/2xNHrJs
MHS Library Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/milpitashighlibrary/